About EMODnet Seabed Habitats


In the first phase of EMODnet Seabed Habitats (2009-2012) over two million square kilometres of European seabed were mapped using levels 3 and 4 of the EUNIS (European Nature Information System) classification system to produce the EMODnet broad-scale seabed habitat map for Europe (EUSeaMap). In phase 2 (2013-2016), the coverage of the maps has been extended to all European seas and the existing maps have been improved.

Furthermore, EMODnet Seabed Habitats continued the work started by MESH and MESH Atlantic projects of collating and making available seabed habitat maps from surveys, through the EMODnet Seabed Habitats interactive map.


View of EMODnet Seabed Habitats interactive map

An example of the EMODnet Seabed Habitats portal being used to display GIS data.


EMODnet Seabed Habitats is part of a wider family of projects within the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) initiative. It is funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), with the primary aim to support the requirements of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

The data layers, confidence maps and thresholds produced by the EMODnet Seabed Habitats consortium are available publically for free through the interactive map.

More information on the principles behind generating broad-scale habitat maps can be found in the documents section.


  • Review and analyse existing broad-scale marine habitat mapping efforts in terms of methods used, data requirements and applications.
  • Develop a common methodology for broad-scale seabed habitat mapping across Europe, specifically for the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Macaronesia, Black Sea and Mediterranean sea basins.
  • Introduce better quality habitat maps through the use of best available data and refined modelling processes.
  • Make the digital map layers available to stakeholders and develop an on-line mapping tool to display the layers incorporating a site to make the data available to the public.
  • Collate detailed habitat maps from surveys across European Seas, display the data  on the on-line mapping tool to make them available to the public.
  • Assess the benefits and constraints of using broad-scale categories of the EUNIS marine habitat types, in comparison with the use of other regional variations and what shortcomings could be addressed by more accuracy and higher resolution.
  • Demonstrate how the Marine Strategy Framework Directive Annex III requirements can be used in characterising the marine environment.
  • Contribute towards INSPIRE implementation standards.
  • Determine the effort required to provide a more accurate, higher resolution survey-based mapping.
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